I read a blog today that just puts so many things into perspective. I am Catholic and am a firm believer in teaching my children that Christmas and Easter is not always just about receiving, nor receiving a lot. BUT, even then I do believe that children should have some fun in unwrapping something they might have wished for all year long.
Here is the post from A Mama's Blog, I stumbled upon it on Twitter. Now, you can read it, but I'll tell you what reached inside me and clenched my heart. Heather (A Mama's Blog), has a sister who teaches Second grade. AND, like all children...all 7 & 8 year old children...they write letters to Santa. Here is a sampling of what a few wrote:
"…I need some socks because all mine have holes in them.”
"…I would like two blankets because my house gets cold.”
“…in the store, I would like new shoes.”
"…I need some pencils at home because I don’t half any and I half to wait until my couzin is done with his homework. Also his homework has a lot of pages to do and it takes forever and ever and I don’t get to finish not much of my homework.”
Can you understand what I'm feeling here with out me writing any further?
After reading those words...I sat here in disbelief.
Disbelief because I can't imagine the child that sat there in class, knowing that they were writing a letter to Santa Claus...probably someone they whole-heartedly believe in...there only chance of the year to ask for the toys they have been longing for, for months-perhaps years...and they had to sit there in their little desks and outweigh whether or not they should ask for the toy...so that they could play with it, enjoy it, cherish it, basically have the freedom that childhood brings every person only a few years in one's lifetime...the years of no "responsibilities" (you know what I mean)... OR, should they ask for the things they NEED, perhaps recalling the night before when they didn't get a good night's sleep because it was too cold...perhaps being embarassed when it's okay to take your shoes off, but you'd rather not because you know you have holes in your socks...
What child should have to make that type of decision...that's too mature of a decision...that's an adult's decision, right? Balancing our WANTS from our NEEDS. Sure, we need to teach our children that we can't have everything...I certainly do. BUT, is it too much to WANT a blanket or new socks? SOCKS? Can you believe that a child is wishing for that? Today, in 2008? In our great country of America?
We do live in a great country and I am very proud to be an American, and yet I think we sometimes take too much for granted here. We place so much focus on the wrong things.
My husband and I are not wealthy...no where near it. AND, yet we are so rich. Rich in the fact that we have each other, our children and our families...a roof over our heads, food not only on our table but in our pantry and refrigerator, we have transportation, we have heat...and now to add to that list...we have "pencils", "blankets", and we ALL have socks...with out holes in them.
I was interviewed here locally a couple of months ago...the subject was budgeting and Christmas shopping. I recall the interviewer asking me if I would be having a budget this year...I answered, "...of course, we do every year." She then asked me if we would be buying any big ticket items, to which I replied that "there is a lot more to Christmas than expensive gifts."
There is a lot more to CHRISTmas than any gift.
If you can't help send anything to this classroom, please try to find a family locally who is not as well off as you are...remember there is always someone out there who is worse off than you...always.
Heather...thanks for the reminder!